Understanding Global Politics : Actors and Themes in International Affairs book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Global Politics
Actors and Themes in International Affairs

ISBN 9781138682269
Published August 8, 2019 by Routledge
446 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Contemporary international affairs are largely shaped by widely differing thematic issues and actors, such as nation states, international institutions, NGOs and multinational companies. Obtaining a deeper understanding of these multifaceted themes and actors is crucial for developing a genuine understanding of contemporary international affairs. This book provides undergraduate and postgraduate students of global politics and international relations with the necessary knowledge of the forces that shape and dominate our global political, economic and social/cultural environment. The book significantly enhances our understanding of the essentials of contemporary international affairs.

Understanding Global Politics takes a pragmatic approach to international relations, with each chapter being written by an expert in their respective field:

  • Part I provides the historical background that has led to the current state of world affairs. It also provides clear outlines of the major yet often complex theories of international relations.
  • Part II is dedicated to the main actors in global politics. It discusses actors such as the most important nation states, the UN, EU, international organizations, NGOs and multinational companies.
  • Part III considers important contemporary themes and challenges in global politics, including non-state centered challenges. Chapters focus on international terrorism, energy and climate change issues, religious fundamentalism and demographic changes.

The comprehensive structure of this book makes it particularly viable to students who wish to pursue careers in international organizations, diplomacy, consultancy, the think tank world and the media.


Table of Contents


Klaus Larres & Ruth Wittlinger


1. Global Politics since 1945

Klaus Larres

2. Democracy: Problems and Challenges, Opportunities and Design

Matthew Flinders and Marc Geddes

3. The Global Economy and the "Great Recession"

Mark K. Cassell

4. Theorizing Global Politics

Wayne McLean


5. The USA

John Dumbrell

6. The People’s Republic of China

Gudrun Wacker

7. Russia’s Resurgent Political Identity

Peter Eltsov

8. India

Christian Wagner

9. The European Union

Christian Schweiger

10. Germany

Ruth Wittlinger

11. The United Nations

Manuel Fröhlich

12. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Linda Risso

13. IMF and World Bank

Rainer Hillebrand

14. Non-Governmental Organisations

Hannah Murphy-Gregory

15. Regional Organisations

Ulf Engel

16. Multinational Businesses

John Mikler


17. Global Environmental Politics: Sustainable Development, Climate Change and the Energy Dilemma

Sarah Cohen

18. Transnational Politics of Migration: From States to Regimes and Agents

Margit Fauser

19. Global Poverty

Indrajit Roy

20. Failing States and Statebuilding

Jutta Bakonyi

21. Soft and Hard Power

Annamarie Bindenagel Sehovic

22. The Rise of Religious Fundamentalism

Dianne Kirby

23. Human Rights and the International Criminal Court

Yvonne McDermott

24. The Threat of Transnational Terrorism

Tobias Hof

25. Fighting Corruption Globally: A Case of Norm Diffusion in International Relations

Holger Moroff

26. Nuclear Proliferation and International Stability

Jonas Schneider

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Klaus Larres is the Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Professor in History and International Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US. He served as Counselor and Senior Policy Adviser at the German Embassy in Beijing, China. Previously he was Professor at the University of London, UK, Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington, DC, US. He held visiting professorships and senior fellowships at Yale, Tsinghua University in Beijing, the German Institute of International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey. He also held the Henry A. Kissinger Chair at  the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. He has published widely on post-1945 global affairs, including several books. In particular, his publications focus on the global Cold War, transatlantic relations in the post-1945 and post-Cold War years and trilateral relations among the US, China and Europe/Germany. Find his website at www.klauslarres.org.

Ruth Wittlinger is Associate Professor in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. She has published extensively on memory and identity in post-unification Germany and Europe. She is author of the monograph German National Identity in the Twenty-First Century: A Different Republic After All? and her research has been published in a number of journals including West European Politics, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, German Politics, German Politics and Society and Cooperation and Conflict. She has held research fellowships at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies in Washington, DC, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is currently working on a project which examines the state of the German diaspora in the Former Soviet Union which involves field research in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia/Western Siberia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In 2018, she became Chair of the International Association for the Study of German Politics.